Late last year I received a letter from the Department of Justice concerning First Choice Technical Support, which happens to be one of my former employers. This letter informed me that First Choice was under investigation for fraud and invited me to come forward as a witness. I did not respond to the letter as I was with First Choice for only three days and therefore had no information about the alleged fraud. In fact, this was the first time I heard about it.
I first found about First Choice from Craigslist, where I saw their ad for a tech support agent. I sent my resume in and got the interview that resulted in me getting hired on the spot. I was informed that my work schedule would be Tuesday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. I had mixed feelings about working those hours but I was desperate enough for a job to accept the offer anyway.
My employment began with some on-the-job training that took place during the day, where I was paired with a fellow agent to watch him work. He was connected remotely to the customer’s computer and ran various tools to clear it of junk files and unwanted programs. I would later notice that all the tools the agents used are freely available on the Web, which I listed in a later post.
In order to allow the agents to connect to the customer’s computer, the customer had to go to the First Choice web site to download some software that allowed the agents to connect remotely to that computer. This became known as a session, and there were multiple agents working on multiple sessions during their shifts. When all the work was done, the agent would call the customer back for a recap of the services performed as well as a summary of the bill.
By all accounts, it seemed like a legitimate company to work for. During one of my breaks, I met one of the assistant managers who was clearly excited about the way First Choice was growing and saw a very bright future ahead. He even assured me that I picked a good company to work for.
When I finished my third day of training, the hiring manager called me into his office and told me I was being let go. He didn’t think I was catching on fast enough, which was a bit of a surprise considering I was already working some of the sessions on my own. But that’s as far as I got. One more day and I too would have become one of the fraudsters, a thought that fills me with guilt and shame even to this day. It also would have left an indelible stain on my career.
But none of that matters now. First Choice was later found to be a tech support scam and forced out of business. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I were still working there.